Sri Lanka international airport to get automated immigration e-gates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will have digital gates at its main international airport to automate immigration controls and enable travelers to board and disembark from flights faster, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva said.

“In six months I will ensure digital gates at the airport and reduce congestion,” he told the “International Conference 2018” held by the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT).

De Silva said the Cabinet of ministers Tuesday approved a joint proposal by him and Internal Affairs Minister S.B.Nawinna for the e-gates at the airport.

“Yesterday I got Cabinet approval to set up 10 digital gates at the airport so we are not at the mercy of immigration officials.”

Ten e-gates will be set up at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake at a cost of 260 million rupees, the state information office said, citing the Cabinet decision.

The move is to provide an alternative to the present manual controls by Immigration and Emigration Department which regulates the entry and exit of people in the island.

De Silva said digital immigration controls are possible since information on travelers is captured electronically when they enter or leave the country.

“Sixty-five percent of people from the airport are Sri Lankans – all their information is recorded.  Foreigners coming in have to go through immigration but when going back can use digital gates and go through in a few seconds.”

De Silva said he was prompted to go digital as immigration officers were not efficient or polite enough as in airports at other countries.

“There are 35 seats at the immigration counter but only 4-5 people working.”
The authorities studied electronic immigration controls elsewhere like in Dubai, de Silva told the conference which was on how logistics professionals need to adapt to a digitally connected future.
(COLOMBO, 19 September, 2018)





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